This is Schrödinger’s Cat, which is my favorite thought experiment. A thought experiment is an experiment that’s just for thinking about. You aren’t supposed to do thought experiments in a lab.
Erwin Schrödinger liked to think about cats, I bet because he always wanted to have one. He was an Austrian physicist who developed a lot of experiments. This one is a quantum experiment about radioactivity.
In this experiment, you imagine that there is a source of radiation. The source is connected to a hinge and a hammer, and the hammer will break a bottle full of cyanide if the source decays. Decay is when a source of radiation emits radiation and particles like alpha and beta particles.
You also imagine that this setup is inside of a box with a cat, and this box is a special box that no information can pass through. That means there’s no way for us to tell what’s happening inside the box.
Schrödinger argued that, until we open the box, the cat is both alive and dead because of quantum superposition, which is when an object is in two states at once. Another example is how photons can act like both a particle and a wave.
Even though Schrödinger thought this up a long time ago, scientists are still trying to figure it all out, and that includes me.
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